the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2020-Mar-25 today archive


  1. World's Wind Power Capacity Up By Fifth After Record Year
  2. Massive US Coronavirus Stimulus Includes Research Dollars, Some Aid To Universities
  3. DoNotPay's New Service Will Try To Help You Get Bill Extensions Due To Coronavirus
  4. Facebook's Portal TV Video Chat Device Was Mocked -- Now It's Completely Sold Out
  5. Graphene Solar Thermal Film Could Be a New Way To Harvest Renewable Energy
  6. iFixit MacBook Air Teardown Finds More Repairable Than Predecessor
  7. The exFAT Filesystem Is Coming To Linux -- Paragon Software's Not Happy About It
  8. COVID-19 Pushes Up Internet Use 70 Percent, Streaming More Than 12 Percent, First Figures Reveal
  9. UK Cash Usage Halves Within Days as Shops Close Due To Coronavirus
  10. 'Don't Bail Out the Cruise Industry'
  11. Microsoft Announces New 'Hardware-Enforced Stack Protection' Feature
  12. Nuclear Scientists Developing Faster, Cheaper Covid-19 Test
  13. Singapore Government To Make Its Contact-Tracing App Freely Available To Developers Worldwide
  14. Amazon, Owned by World's Richest Man, Soliciting Public Donations To Pay Workers' Sick Leave
  15. Britons Saying Final Goodbyes To Dying Relatives By Videolink
  16. CDC Says Coronavirus RNA Found in Princess Cruise Ship Cabins Up To 17 Days After Passengers Left
  17. HPE Says Firmware Bug Will Brick Some SSDs Starting in October this Year
  18. EPA Plans To Waive Some Compliance Requirements Amid Coronavirus Crisis
  19. Apple Blocks Third-Party Cookies in Safari
  20. Apple's App Store Rules Limit Rival Gaming Services While Arcade Runs Free
  21. Hackers Hijack Routers' DNS To Spread Malicious COVID-19 Apps
  22. Venezuela's Flagship Communications Satellite Out of Service and Tumbling
  23. SpaceX Encounters First Launch Delay Due To Coronavirus

Alterslash picks up to the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

World's Wind Power Capacity Up By Fifth After Record Year

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The world's wind power capacity grew by almost a fifth in 2019 after a year of record growth for offshore windfarms and a boom in onshore projects in the US and China. The Global Wind Energy Council found that wind power capacity grew by 60.4 gigawatts, or 19%, compared with 2018, in one of the strongest years on record for the global wind power industry. The growth was powered by a record year for offshore wind, which grew by 6.1GW to make up a tenth of new windfarm installations for the first time. The council's annual report found that the US and China remain the world's largest markets for onshore wind power development. Together the two countries make up almost two-thirds of global growth in wind power. GWEC had expected 2020 to emerge as a record year for the rollout of wind energy projects, and forecast growth of 20% in the year ahead, but it said the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic was as yet unknown.

Re:This is "nominal capacity", a.k.a. output when

By tg123 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The next cost is the big battery to keep that energy day to day.

No the next cost is the Transmission lines, most likely DC Power lines, needed so that we can transition from a Centralised Grid to a Distributed Grid which will mean
for example that when the Sun goes down on the East Coast of America the Grid can powered from West Coast of California.

Germany will not abandon nuclear power.

By blindseer • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Not every place in the world can afford the German hypocrisy - professing "green", but importing freely nuclear from France and Sweden.

Nuclear power is just as "green" as wind power, if not more green. The hypocrisy lies in Germany not only in their claim of being better for the environment while ranking fourth in national coal consumption but in their claim of not using nuclear power while importing it from France.

Germany has been able to keep the lights on only because of their ability to lean on imports of not only nuclear power but also on imports of coal, oil, and natural gas to fuel their power plants. They manage their shortfalls in domestic electricity production by buying nuclear power from France and hydro power from Nordic countries. Don't get me wrong, this is great that they are using low carbon energy from nations with plenty of hydro and nuclear power capacity. What this does though is drive energy prices up.

They sell excess electricity production cheap to nations with lots of hydro and nuclear power only to have to buy it back at higher prices when German utilities can't get enough electricity from domestic wind and solar power. If they were smart then they'd be building their own nuclear power plants so they can keep from exporting money and jobs to their neighbors. Germany doesn't have geography all that favorable for hydroelectric dams so they can't just store up this excess electricity like Nordic nations can.

If someone wants to claim that Germany can just build grid scale batteries for storing up excess solar and wind electricity production for later then please tell me how much this will cost. If it were as simple as building batteries then why hasn't Germany done this already? The answer is simple, because it costs too much.

My guess is that Germany will not ever be without domestic nuclear power electricity production. They will keep pushing out the shutdown dates of their currently operating nuclear power plants until they can admit to themselves that they can not afford to be without nuclear power and start building new nuclear power plants again.

Can a nation produce all the energy they need from wind and solar? In most nations this is true, at least in theory. The chances of doing this economically is slim to none.

Stop spouting out brain farts, provide arguments

By burni2 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

You provided no arguments for your POV, can you be more specific, because I live in Germany and when I plug a device into the socket, it works 99,999999% of the time - no issues at all.

And Spain isn't the best example with 25% nuclear energy.

In short, no more nuclear because it cannot assist the changing renewables.

And btw. have you ever thought about the future price for electricity in france .. they have a big nuclear park .. of very old and ever aging plants that need to be replaced .. .. replacement = new nuclear reactors = expensive -> leads to -> the future french electricity price will increase above the german prices.

Re:Nice, but need to add new Nuclear Power plants

By shilly • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It seems the underlying point you're making is that we should decarbonise but not do it stupidly. Agree. The UK, Norway, Sweden are all examples of sensible decarbonisation. None is predicated on large quantities of new nuclear (Hinckley notwithstanding). All have moved at pace.

Re:Stop spouting out brain farts, provide argument

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

France is keeping old reactors going because they don't want to pay for new ones. Nuclear basically turned into corporate welfare and they are fed up with it. EDF, one of the big nuclear operators, nearly went bust and had to be bailed out by the government a few years ago.

They basically gave up trying to build new nuclear in France and have been trying to do it elsewhere in Europe, but all the projects have ended up behind schedule and over budget. Take Hinkley C for example. The budget says it will be the most expensive object on Earth when finished (the ISS is about the only thing more expensive) and the electricity for it has a guaranteed price about 2x that of subsidised wind. No legal issues or challenges, it is being built on an existing site with existing infrastructure already in place. In the end they had to get Chinese investors in to keep the project afloat.

So yeah, I don't think France is very keen on replacing its existing reactors with new ones.

Massive US Coronavirus Stimulus Includes Research Dollars, Some Aid To Universities

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: The $2 trillion stimulus package that the U.S. Senate is working to approve today is aimed at helping the country cope with the massive impact of the coronavirus pandemic. But it also includes at least $1.25 billion for federal research agencies to support scientists trying to better understand coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In addition, it extends a financial hand to universities that have shut down because of the pandemic, some of which could go to support research that has been disrupted.

Details of the legislation have yet to emerge after Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress worked out their differences in negotiations that ran into the early morning. But a 22-page summary (PDF) released by the Senate Appropriations Committee this morning contains these highlights:

- The National Institutes of Health would receive $945 million for "vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic research" on COVID-19 as well as on "the underlying risks to cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions."
- The National Science Foundation would receive $76 million to supplement an ongoing program that allows scientists to jump into the field for pilot studies on all manner of natural disasters.
- The Department of Energy's Office of Science would get $99.5 million to cover the additional costs of operating user facilities at its national laboratories, including support for equipment and staff.
- The U.S. Forest Service would get $3 million to "reestablish experiments impacted by travel restrictions" stemming from the pandemic, including an ongoing forest inventory.

In addition, three research agencies would receive a total of $86 million "to support continuity of operations" affected by COVID-19. NASA would receive $60 million for the costs of rescheduling scientific missions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would get $20 million to supplement "life and property related services" within its National Weather Service, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology would receive $6 million to support "research and measurement science" aimed at developing better diagnostics and testing of the coronavirus.

Ramming a bill through without the public AGAIN

By dknj • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

No one is asking why the bill is not available on The Congressional Ballot.

We are okay with taking summary PDFs or listening to Mainstream Media for what is going to be in the bill. Did we forget about all the bailouts from 2008? Did we already forget about media manipulation from 2016? Seriously sheeple, wake up. Do you know that every bill goes through Congress the same way? Bill introduced, Text is available for the public to view, House deliberates and makes changes, Text is available for the public to view, Senate deliberates and makes changes, Text is available for the public to view , then sends off to our president for signing. This time they are doing all of this work behind the scenes. What is so secretive that we, the people, can't see what we are going to have to deal with. Ask why, you may be surprised at what you find..

Why are you okay with this? You have just as much of a right to know as a taxpayer. But no one is thinking about that, everyone is thinking of OMG Coronavirus. This is how we are going to end up with a Digital Dollar or the codified loss of your privacy rights. At the last second, the bill appears to the public but before anyone can object it will be signed by the president and made into law. Markets will skyrocket as the world rejoices that we just spent our way out of a pandemic.

Don't be a fool. Don't create another 2008. Write, call, email, smoke signal your elected officials and ask to see the bill before it goes for a vote.

Re:Just gonna come out and say it...

By Can'tNot • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Your comment is useless. If you're going to try and contradict the parent, you need to actually do it. Trying to force everyone else to guess what you're talking about is just a way to give the illusion of having a valid point.

Re:Just gonna come out and say it...

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Your comment is useless. If you're going to try and contradict the parent, you need to actually do it. Trying to force everyone else to guess what you're talking about is just a way to give the illusion of having a valid point.

He was assuming that people are more familiar with macroeconomics than they actually are.

If you run up debt on your credit card, you have to pay back that debt out of your future earnings.

Government debt doesn't work that way. There is no need to "pay back" the debt out of future earnings (taxes). Instead, as the Fed (which is sort of only quasi-government) expands the money supply, they buy bonds. These bonds are held by the Fed, and any money earned is paid back to the treasury. When the bonds come due, the Fed rolls them over by buying new bonds.

So it is basically free money. There is only a problem if the interest on the bonds is more than economic growth plus inflation. So if the economy grows by 2% and inflation is 2%, then we are okay as long as the interest rates stay below 4%.

So how much does the government pay in interest? Roughly ZERO percent.

So the government can borrow with impunity, and NEVER pay back the money.

Of course, things can get out of hand, but we have been adding a trillion or so in debt per year with no problem for over a decade. We will know there is a problem when inflation starts rising, but so far inflation is LOWER than what the Fed considers healthy for the economy and some increase in inflation would be welcomed.

Joke of the week just couldn’t help myself.

By Falconhell • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

A plane with 4 passengers, Trump, Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel and a Greta Thunberg aboard, is about to crash.
There are only 3 parachutes.
Trump says, “I am the smartest man in the world, and I’m needed to save America” grabs a chute and Jumps.
Boris says, Im essential to stopping Covid-19 in the UK” grabs a chute and jumps.
Merkel looks at Greta and says, “Im at the end of my life, and you are just at the start, so take the chute.
Greta says, “Oh, don’t worry, there are still 2 parachutes, the smartest man in the world just jumped out with my school bag”

Agency funding?

By sabbede • Score: 3 • Thread

NIH - Makes sense to give them money to work on a cure/vaccine.

NSF - Makes a little less sense. A fund to help them "jump in" on disasters? What does that even mean and why is special funding needed?

DoE - Makes even less sense. Are they planning to fight a virus with nukes or something?

Forrest Service - Okay, no. That makes no sense whatsoever. I thought this was for fighting a pandemic and keeping the economy going, why the f-k is there an earmark to count trees?

Likewise, is this the best bill to allocate funds to NASA to cover rescheduling? Maybe it is, but $20 million to NOAA to support entirely unrelated activity sure as hell doesn't belong in this bill.

DoNotPay's New Service Will Try To Help You Get Bill Extensions Due To Coronavirus

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
DoNotPay is ready to help you out if you need to delay your rent, credit card, or utility bill payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The company, known for its legal aid chatbot, is launching a new service that requests waivers and payment extensions from companies and landlords. The Verge reports: The new product allows the service to identify any bills such as utilities and rent that are eligible for an extension or a late fee waiver. DoNotPay will then reach out to the company to make a "compassionate and polite request." If the request is denied, the service will send out a second letter citing relevant local and state laws. DoNotPay says it will use the "full force of the local and state laws" for states with no related coronavirus laws or orders in effect. Right now, this service is only available in the US, but DoNotPay founder Joshua Browder told The Verge that the company is looking to bring the service to other countries, such as the UK.

When it comes to credit card bills, Browder told The Verge that extensions or waivers for these matters are a "negotiation process." Some companies, such as Apple, are allowing card holders to skip their March payment, but Browder said a majority of businesses are treating business "as usual," requesting customers pay their statements on time with no extensions or waivers.

Perhaps not needed in many cases

By Dutch Gun • Score: 3 • Thread

I've already gotten notices from just about everyone I pay money to on a regular basis letting me know there are programs or options available for those having economic trouble due to the pandemic. As an example, my local power company not only will defer payments on request, but has said they won't be shutting off power for non-payment at all for the next few months. Stuff like that. I think most people understand these are rather extraordinary times, and are trying to make accommodations as best they can.

I'm sure we'll hear stories about selfish creditors or landlords that are not helping anyone but themselves, but that's humanity for you. You get the bad with the good. Hopefully those folks get named and shamed.

Facebook's Portal TV Video Chat Device Was Mocked -- Now It's Completely Sold Out

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
jmcbain writes: When Facebook launched its Portal hardware product line for in-home video communication in 2018, people accused the company of being tonedeaf to the privacy uproar stemming from the Cambridge Analytica controversy. Tech reviewers almost universally dismissed the product, saying "No one should buy the Facebook Portal TV," "Trust Fail," and "Is it really a good idea to pitch people on a Facebook-powered camera and microphone in your home?" However, during this period of shelter-in-place, Facebook's previously-beleaguered product has found an opportunity to shine. CNBC reports that "with people stuck indoors and seeking the best way to stay in touch with family and friends, the Portal TV is completely sold out on Facebook's website and from retailers such as Best Buy." Facebook further mentions that "We're pleased that we can help people connect with family, friends and colleagues during this time."

Got mine today

By Spazmania • Score: 3 • Thread

I just got my regular Portal device today. One of the features I really appreciated: it comes with a plastic clip designed to cover the camera.

The virtual pan and zoom is cool. It follows me around the room like a cameraman.

Our species is clearly too stupid to survive

By Rick Schumann • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It takes a Pandemic

By RazorSharp • Score: 3 • Thread

If it takes a pandemic for a product to become popular, I suspect that once the pandemic is over its popularity will once again plummet and many purchased units will fall into disuse (of course, as long as people leave them hooked up Facebook will still be using them to collect information about you).

It should also be considered that if this product has been unpopular since 2018, then they probably never really ramped up production and, given the pandemic, are unable to now. So does being sold out at this particular time mean that it's actually popular?

Perhaps I'm wrong on both accounts and it's just wishful thinking because I hate Facebook. But, hey, I'm an optimist.

Also, that article reads like a giant advertisement for the device. Especially how he waits until the end to mention any of the privacy concerns and quickly brushes them aside.

"Sold out" is not always a great metric

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 3 • Thread

If you manufacture a total of four devices and manage to get four people to buy them, it doesn't really say much about the appeal of that device.

Graphene Solar Thermal Film Could Be a New Way To Harvest Renewable Energy

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from IEEE Spectrum: Researchers at the Center for Translational Atomaterials (CTAM) at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a new graphene-based film that can absorb sunlight with an efficiency of over 90 percent, while simultaneously eliminating most IR thermal emission loss -- the first time such a feat has been reported. The result is an efficient solar heating metamaterial that can heat up rapidly to 83 degrees C (181 degrees F) in an open environment with minimal heat loss. Proposed applications for the film include thermal energy harvesting and storage, thermoelectricity generation, and seawater desalination.

The 3D structured graphene metamaterial (SGM) is composed of a 30-nanometer-thick film of alternating graphene and dielectric layers deposited on a trench-like nanostructure that does double duty as a copper substrate to enhance absorption. More importantly, the substrate is patterned in a matrix arrangement to enable flexible tunability of wavelength-selective absorption. The graphene film is designed to absorb light between 0.28- to 2.5-micrometer wavelengths. And the copper substrate is structured so that it can act as a selective bandpass filter that suppresses the normal emission of internally generated blackbody energy. This retained heat then serves to further raise the metamaterial's temperature. Hence, the SGM can rapidly heat up to 83 degrees C. Should a different temperature be required for a particular application, a new trench nanostructure can be fabricated and tuned to match that specific blackbody wavelength.
"The new material also uses less graphene by significantly reducing the film thickness to one third, and its thinness aids in transferring the absorbed heat more efficiently to other media such as water," the report adds. "Additionally, the film is hydrophobic, which fosters self-cleaning, while the graphene layer effectively protects the copper layer from corrosion, helping to extend the metamaterial's lifetime."

The research is published in the journal Nature Communications.

"Graphene" and "Could"

By DavenH • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Hardly a better duo than these two words in Slashdot headlines.

Now let's scale it up and mass produce it

By thesjaakspoiler • Score: 3 • Thread

...... ow ...... still waiting for my thin film solar cells to roll out of the factory.
Pre-ordered them about 20 years ago or so.

iFixit MacBook Air Teardown Finds More Repairable Than Predecessor

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
iFixit tore apart the updated MacBook Air and found that Apple made a few changes making for a more repairable notebook than the last generation. All in all, the new 2020 MacBook Air got a 4/10 repairability score from iFixit, which is one point higher than the previous-gen model which scored 3/10. 9to5Mac reports: iFixit highlights in its full teardown that the update to the reliable Magic Keyboard only added 0.5mm to the thick end of the new MacBook Air... a more than worth it trade-off: "More than anything, that 0.5 mm illustrates the sheer unnecessary-ness of the five painful years that Mac fans spent smashing on unresponsive butterfly keyboards. Knowing that Apple's thinnest-and-lightest notebook accommodates a scissor-switch keyboard so gracefully makes us wonder what it was all for. We understand as well as anyone the urge to fix things, but Apple's insistence on reworking and re-reworking the troubled butterfly design came at such a high cost -- financially, environmentally, and to the Mac's reputation -- and for what? We'll probably never know all the factors that led to the creation and persistence of the butterfly keyboard, but this Magic keyboard is a reminder that sometimes the difference between usable and unusable, or repairable and unrepairable, can be as small as half a millimeter."

Past the keyboard update, iFixit found a nice improvement to how Apple has implemented the trackpad cable: "Where last year the trackpad cables were trapped under the logic board, they are now free to be disconnected anytime -- meaning trackpad removal can happen as soon as the back cover comes off. And since the battery rests under these same cables, this new configuration also greatly speeds up battery removal by leaving the logic board in place. That's two very tasty birds, one stone, for those of you counting. This is one of those happy (but all too rare) occasions where we can identify a hardware change from Apple that's squarely aimed at improving serviceability in the existing design. Sometimes they do listen!"

"Sometimes they do listen!"

By beckett • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Did they listen to people asking for user-replaceable SSD, RAM, and a battery under a removable plate for easy swapping? Or was this move to avoid returns and recalls over a defective-by-design keyboard, rather than actually listening to their customers? i guess a broken clock is "sometimes" correct as well.

What about the T2 "security" chip?

By Kitkoan • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
If it's still there, then it's not repairable by anyone other then Apple or those who agreed to the horrible agreement, which means it's not really repairable

The real reason...

By ddtmm • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
They lost their shirts trying to repair notebooks under warranty. There's no way they were happy about fixing their own "made to never be repaired" designs. Good on them.

Jony ive

By samwichse • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

So long Jony I've... you won't be missed.

The exFAT Filesystem Is Coming To Linux -- Paragon Software's Not Happy About It

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
couchslug shares an excerpt from Ars Technica: When software and operating system giant Microsoft announced its support for inclusion of the exFAT filesystem directly into the Linux kernel back in August, it didn't get a ton of press coverage. But filesystem vendor Paragon Software clearly noticed this month's merge of the Microsoft-approved, largely Samsung-authored version of exFAT into the VFS for-next repository, which will in turn merge into Linux 5.7 -- and Paragon doesn't seem happy about it. Yesterday, Paragon issued a press release about European gateway-modem vendor Sagemcom adopting its version of exFAT into an upcoming series of Linux-based routers. Unfortunately, it chose to preface the announcement with a stream of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) that wouldn't have looked out of place on Steve Ballmer's letterhead in the 1990s.


By DigitAl56K • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Can't answer the last two, but Paragon Software have for years provided some of the best tools on Windows for managing partitions, disk/parition-level backup, and images on Windows systems. They've also offered drivers to get read/write NTFS working on Mac, and APFS working on Windows. Their prices are pretty accessible so it's likely lots of Windows users will know them.

So you can think of them as providing lots of tools and drivers for file systems on multiple platforms.

Disclaimer: Am a long-term Paragon customer, but have no other ties to them.


By caseih • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Paragon Software is not a large company and they don't charge obscene amounts of money for their software and tools. I don't have much sympathy for them, but I'm sure you'd complain too if a big company suddenly pulled the rug out from under one of your revenue streams.


By stikves • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

They had a good run, but they have to move on.

All software becomes obsolete given time. And compatibility software depending on the original not supporting a particular platform will always be a hair's distance from becoming so.

They serve a niche, and are really useful tools. However as soon as either party (here Linux or Microsoft) decided to give full support for the integration, there is no more need for their product.

Take "Mono" for example. They used to provide open source C# / .Net implementation on Linux (and other platforms). As soon as .Net runtime itself became open source, there was no more need for that project. (But it had a happy ending. Their talent and tools were acquired by Microsoft and included in Visual Studio releases).

FAT32 is immortal

By kurkosdr • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
So, does this mean we will finally stop seeing FAT32 (and it's awesome 4GB filesize limit) as the default filesystem in all thumbdrives? On one hand, I want the 4GB limit gone, and I am also glad that external Western Digital harddrives will probably stop shipping with NTFS (yes, NTFS, which means you have to "safely remove" them every time or risk losing data due to NTFS's caching). On the other hand I enjoy how a single thumbdrive can be moved across Android TV devices (Nexus Players for example), "dumb" TVs with USB media player functionality, DVB-T receivers, DVD/Blu-Ray players, old Linux LTS releases etc etc without any compatibility hurdles.

exFAT support already exists in distros

By weeboo0104 • Score: 3 • Thread

I'm running Debian and Ubuntu at the moment and I first loaded the exFAT utils a year ago. It was only a matter of time until the filesystem was available in the kernel as well.
Why is Paragon so bent out of shape about the kernel support when loading exFAT was as easy as "apt install exfat-fuse exfat-utils"?

COVID-19 Pushes Up Internet Use 70 Percent, Streaming More Than 12 Percent, First Figures Reveal

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Forbes: The first internet streaming and usage figures are coming in as the coronavirus pandemic places a quarter of the world's population under lockdown. As millions of people go online for entertainment and more, total internet hits have surged by between 50% and 70%, according to preliminary statistics. Streaming has also jumped by at least 12%, estimates show. [Maria Rua Aguete of Omdia, the tech research arm of Informa Tech] said the annual figures are revealing: "Ecommerce will be the other sector that will see a revenue boost as a result of the pandemic, adding $175 billion in revenue in 2020, which represents a 5% increase."

Omdia predicts $11 billion losses for the movie industry with a 25% decline and a 15% drop in TV advertising, especially for ads promoting events such as concerts that can no longer take place. The surge in demand comes coupled with a warning from the company that paid TV advertising may decline by 15%. Omdia also predicted that industry recovery will start in 18 to 24 months. While official figures from Google's YouTube and other internet giants are awaited, Omdia's figures accord with other analysts. "Broadband providers are thus far experiencing a traffic surge between 30% and 50% across their mobile and fixed networks," said Alfonso Marone, who is head of media at KPMG U.K.: "Where self-isolation policies are at their peak in Europe, the spike in internet traffic has reached as high as 70%, which is indicative of what the traffic surge could look like in other regions in just two to three weeks' time. The most bandwidth-hungry are the online entertainment applications, especially those in high-definition like 4K movies and TV. For broadband providers, this spike may be seen as more a source of headache."

This really sucks

By WaffleMonster • Score: 3 • Thread

I just don't get it. People can waste time on the Internet anytime.

This is a historic once in a lifetime opportunity to go out and enjoy the fresh air while it lasts. Just don't do it around anyone else and you're good.

Re:This really sucks

By vanyel • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Here in Oregon, they've been doing exactly that - so much that the parks have been crowded and they've had to close them.

Internet bandwidth

By vanyel • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

At the, admittedly small, regional, ISP that I work at, what we're seeing is that the weekday traffic looks like weekend traffic: there's normally a big jump in the morning to about 2/3rds of the evening peak, where it's flat until the evening when there's a sharp spike peaking around 8 or 9pm. On the weekends, instead of being flat during the day, it's a smooth increase to about 3/4 the peak when the normal evening spike happens. That's what we're seeing during the week now. The evening peak is not much changed, and this is about what we were expecting, so we're not really worried about bandwidth. The traffic pattern from our Netflix cache appliance looks pretty much the same.

Data caps

By DigitAl56K • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Let's all take note of how ISPs lifted data caps, use went up astronomically, and nothing fell over.

Why do we have data caps again?

Price gouging by Telstra

By BeaverCleaver • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Meanwhile in .au, Telstra (our biggest telco) are reducing data allowances on their mobile plans. Right when people are:
1. More reliant on mobile data due tonworking from home
2. Unable to shop around for a replacement service, and
3. Encouraged to share location info to help track contacts and stop the spread of the virus.

And why are we so reliant on mobile data? Because the very same Telstra lobbied to ruin our fibre-to-the-premises national broadband network and instead forced the use of their decaying copper for the last-mile. Unsurprisingly, this cobbled-together network cannot handle its new load.

Thanks, Telstra.

UK Cash Usage Halves Within Days as Shops Close Due To Coronavirus

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Cash usage in Britain has halved in the past few days, according to Link, which operates the UK's biggest network of ATMs. From a report: The closure of shops, a shift to contactless payments, plus concerns that notes may harbour the virus has contributed to the dramatic decline. Link said the ATM system was operating at its normal standard and that it was working closely with banks and regulators to ensure cash continued to be available. "Consumers' ATM and cash use has fallen significantly, by around 50%, over the past few days and this is likely to continue as people move to follow the prime minister's instructions to stay at home," it said. Some shops are refusing to accept cash during the crisis, demanding that customers pay by card only. Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, said: "We are concerned this will leave many vulnerable people unable to pay for the basics they need. Both the government and retailers need to find a way to ensure that the millions of people who rely on cash, and may not have a bank card, can still pay for essentials during this difficult time."

'Don't Bail Out the Cruise Industry'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a column: The United States economy is grinding to a halt as the country grapples with the novel coronavirus pandemic, and one of the first major actions President Trump has floated is having the government bail out the cruise line industry, which he says is a "prime candidate." He shouldn't do it. There are myriad reasons not to bail out the cruise industry's biggest players.

Here are just a few: 1. They're not really US companies. [...] 2. They pay basically zero federal income tax. [...]
3. They're bad corporate actors: These companies use the protections offered by the countries they are incorporated in as a shield. They make passengers sign over a ton of rights before they even come aboard. Many employees often face long hours and brutal working conditions.
4. They pollute the air and oceans. Every fossil fuel-powered mode of transportation pollutes the air, but cruise ships are among the worst. They emit more sulfur dioxide than all of the passenger vehicles in Europe combined. Cruise ships also pollute the oceans by dumping waste. Not just illegally, for which these companies have been repeatedly fined, but also in some cases with impunity, again thanks to protections afforded by the laws of the countries where they're incorporated. And where they've been caught, there have been coverups.
5. They are not necessary. [...]

I used to work on cruise ships

By NimbleSquirrel • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

First and foremost, I used to work on cruise ships, but I do not think that they should be bailed out.

That said I have a problem with the points raised in the column:

1) Most major cruise companies are headquarterd in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, and they do employ large numbers of US workers. The cruise industry (not just the Crusie Lines, but also supporting organisations) generate more than 330,000 US jobs. They follow US Coastguard and CDC requirements. But their ships operate in international waters, so they are more global businesses rather than solely US companies.

2) A vast number of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in places like Grand Cayman and Ireland for the specific purposes of avoiding tax. Cruise companies are no different from Apple, Amazon and Alphabet in this regard. That said this is the reason I do not believe they should be bailed out. If they will not contribute their actual income tax to the US, they should not be allowed to receive a US Government bailout.

3) For the individual ships they must comply with the flag state the ship is registered under. As I recall NCL did try ships registered under the US flag (they still have one: the Pride of America), but they were required to have 70% US crew and labour costs alone (especially once various unions got involved) made the project prohibitively expensive and restricted the ship to US waters. Other ships use foreign crews: there were around 50 different nationalities on the ships I worked on. International labour is cheaper. While I can't really speak for others, I was paid well. I never experienced horrible conditions, but it is a ship so space is at a premium and cabins can be rather small (especially when you've had a bad day). The ships I worked on had well funded crew welfare organisations to make sure staff were taken care of. Food and medical expenses are all taken care of. I did work long hours on occasion: the ship works 24/7 every single day, so there is always work to do. Also, you can't just pick up the phone and get more people in to help when things go wrong.

4) Cruise ships MUST comply with the environmental laws of the countries whose waters they are sailing in. Suggesting they get to hide behind corporate parents is rubbish.
Cruise ships are mostly fueled by fuel oil, which is a really dirty fuel compared to petrol and diesel. It is really high in sulfur and impurities (although EU requirements that came into effect 1 Jan 2020 force cruise ships to have much lower sulfur content in their fuels). Most modern ships have exhaust scrubbers to specifically remove SOx and NOx gasses from their exhausts. Do they "emit more sulfur dioxide than all of the passenger vehicles in Europe combined..."? While they do emit SOx, even with scrubbers, I highly doubt it is more than all passenger vehicles in the EU combined. The only source I can find for this (the OP citation is behind a paywall) is an 'in house analysis' done by the Transport & Environment NGO. A numerical extrapolation based on old data by an environmental lobby group is not the same as an actual scientific study by a independent and unbiased research organisation.
As for waste, most ships have treatment plants on board. They will hold Graywater (the term for shower and washing water), treat it until it is safe, and then release it once they are in deep water. Blackwater (the term for sewage and heavily contaminated water) is treated and held until the ship is in port when it is transferred to the local treatment plants. The only time Blackwater is released is when they are way out in open ocean (eg transatlantic crossing), and then it is only treated Blackwater that is released not raw sewage. There are trash handling facilities on board, and solid waste is held until it can be offloaded in port and is not dumped overboard.
Yes, cruise ships aren't environmentally friendly but they are not as bad as some make out. Cruise ships represent a tiny portion of the shipping industry, but are the most visible and probably the most regulated.

5) Cruise ships aren't essential, but what kind of tourism is? They do offer a way for many people to get out and travel without a lot of complication. Sure, cruise ships have their issues, but nothing out there is a perfect solution.


By ChoGGi • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Make bailouts to any company proportional to what they paid in taxes the last decade or so?

Re:Hotels & Golf Resorts, too

By BlindWillieMcTell • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

They were also asking for funds for planned parenthood. Don't care if you are pro life or pro abortion, what the heck does that have to do with COVID?

Are you asking why we would want funds for what is the primary medical provider for millions of women during a pandemic?

Planned Parenthood does more than abortions. Do you want women who do not have coronavirus going to hospitals to get pap smears when hospitals are at capacity dealing with the virus?

Re:For once, I gotta agree

By Dutch Gun • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

so they should be free to go sleep in the bed they made.

Isn't the more appropriate phrase here sink or swim?

Re:Why would we bail out a FOREIGN COMPANY?

By Ogive17 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
That's not really a fair comparison. You have two Japanese companies who have made significant investment in the US that directly employ 10s of thousands of Americans (at good wages). Then you have cruise companies who have not invested billions, do not produce anything in American, and honestly have very few well paying jobs for Americans.

Yeah, Honda and Toyota profits funnel back to Japan but they do pay taxes domestically first. Do you want to talk about the taxes being paid by American companies?

Microsoft Announces New 'Hardware-Enforced Stack Protection' Feature

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft announced today a new security feature for the Windows operating system. From a report: Named "Hardware-enforced Stack Protection," this feature allows applications to use the local CPU hardware to protect their code while running inside the CPU's memory. As the feature's name suggests, its primary role is to protect the (memory) stack -- where an app's code is stored during execution. "Hardware-enforced Stack Protection" works by enforcing strict management of the memory stack through the use of a combination between (1) modern CPU hardware and (2) shadow stacks. The term shadow stacks is a new one and refers to a copies of a program's intended execution flow (also referred to as the code's execution order). The new "Hardware-enforced Stack Protection" feature plans to use the hardware-based security features in modern CPUs to keep a copy of the app's shadow stack (intended code execution flow) in a hardware-secured environment.

Re:Bullshit bingo

By pak9rabid • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Seems more like a CYA thing for Intel to mask the fact their CPU's are horribly insecure.

Re:Bullshit bingo

By Athanasius • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I think what it's trying to stay is that as each function call is run it copies the current stack of return addresses to this 'shadow stack', and uses that when performing the return. Thus it doesn't matter if you've smashed the stack in that function call it will still be returning where it should rather than to an attacker-chosen memory location. The stack is never executable, but contains pointers to where execution will continue upon a return.

A link that might help cut through the BS

By istartedi • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Here's a link to a document from Intel that explains what's going on. Section 1.1 explains the shadow stack.

My take-away is that there are attacks based on getting the CPU to jump back to something other than the valid return address. The shadow stack is a hardware-protected copy of the working stack. If the code attempts to return someplace other than where it was called from, an exception is raised.

Re:Bullshit bingo

By znrt • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

WTF is this article summary? It makes no sense. Application code hasn't been running on the stack for over a decade. Non-executable stack has been the default behavior of every sane operating system for ages. Does anyone care enough to provide a real summary, if the article actually has a valid point?

it is explained well enough in the references provided in tfa: https://techcommunity.microsof...

for more general info:

sorry but it is hard to condense all this in a single sentence for you to grasp with minimal effort, beyond what is already expressed in the summary: protect the execution stack. if you can't bother to even skim-read those sources then you really don't need to know anything about these exploits and the mitigation that is intended by this.

Re:Bullshit bingo

By tlhIngan • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

WTF is this article summary? It makes no sense. Application code hasn't been running on the stack for over a decade. Non-executable stack has been the default behavior of every sane operating system for ages. Does anyone care enough to provide a real summary, if the article actually has a valid point?

It's not for applications, it's for improving application security. Against stack-smashing attacks.

You see, the stack contains function return pointers that tell the CPU where execution should resume after a subroutine call. It used to be you could put in shellcode on the stack via a buffer and jump into it, but non-executable stacks block this. But since return pointers aren't executable, a new form of programming called Return-Oriented-Programming (ROP) has emerged. In this case, your shellcode consists of function pointers to subroutines, so the CPU is simply returning from a subroutine, it retrieves the return address and then jumps to that code. That code is usually the tail of some function which lets you set up the stack the way you want, then the next subroutine return will "call" the desired function and parameters.

It's a bit tricky to set up, and requires a sufficiently complex application to have enough functionality to ensure turing completeness.

Things like ASLR help against ROP because they randomize the target addresses, however if you can discover the address of a function in a library, you can use offsets from that to beat ASLR since a library is typicalloy loaded in one big blob. So the start address of the library may be unknown, but once discovered it is easy to figure out the rest.

Using this means ROP is effectively dead - the shadow stack is basically the return address - when you do make a subroutine call, the PC is pushed to both the normal application stack, and the shadow stack. You can manipulate the application stack as much as you want - completely destroy it, if desired. When you return, though, the CPU will get the return address from the shadow stack instead of the application stack.

The shadow stack is guarded and cannot be written to by the application, so you cannot actually manipulate the return address from the application.

Presumably to increase security there is an additional CPU trap if the shadow stack return address and the application stack return address do not agree - which may be due to an application bug smashing its own stack rather than something malicious.

Nuclear Scientists Developing Faster, Cheaper Covid-19 Test

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Nuclear scientists in Austria are closing in on new coronavirus testing kits that could dramatically lower the cost and time it takes to diagnose people for the disease. From a report: With Covid-19 tests in short supply in many places, some individuals have turned to private laboratories that can genetically detect the pathogen. That process, called reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, or RT-PCR, can cost as much as $400 in some private facilities. But the International Atomic Energy Agency expects it can produce Covid-19 tests costing as little as 10 euros ($10.83) that yield a diagnosis within hours, according to an spokesperson, who said the IAEA kits are close to being shipped. While the IAEA's individual tests may top out at 15 euros a person, countries will still need laboratories to process the results. Setting up a new facility from scratch can cost as much as 100,000 euros, according to the agency. The IAEA's lab outside Vienna has previously developed kits testing for Ebola, Zika and African Swine Fever. Fourteen countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America asked the agency's scientists earlier this month to help them ramp up testing. The effort drew an extra $5 million of funding on Tuesday from the U.S. State Department.


By darkain • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

Did anyone else read that as "IKEA kits" at first, or just me!?

Blood tests are a better option long-term

By dgatwood • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The biggest problem with RT-PCR tests is that you're amplifying a tiny bit of genetic material, so if you don't swab the right places and actually get that material, you stand a decent chance of getting false negatives, missing an actual illness.

While this approach is great for trained medical professionals who are already screening a sick patient for a dozen things already, as part of a general respiratory assay, what we really desperately need right now is a blood test that can detect whether you have been exposed to the virus, that is almost foolproof (where less trained people can administer it), that don't require the use of outside laboratories, and that can detect that exposure even if you are not [yet|still] actively sick.

Fortunately, those blood tests are already hitting the market. They are much, much faster than RT-PCR, even if you have an in-house lab, yielding results in 10 to 45 minutes (depending on the test), rather than hours, and don't require any sort of laboratory, so there's no bottleneck other than manufacturing yield. Although the accuracy of blood tests isn't as good (both in terms of specificity and sensitivity), I'd expect it to effectively be more sensitive than a swab test during stages when shedding is low, and specificity failures can always be fixed by a follow-up test with RT-PCR or whatever.

I'm looking forward to much broader availability of such blood tests, because I think that mass testing is what's really needed to turn the tide.

It's just another RT-PCR assay.

By hey! • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

There's a bunch of private companies working on RT-PCR tests as well. The key to making the results fast is to automate and shrink the apparatus so it can be installed near where the samples are taken. Most hospitals and certainly the makeshift hospitals we should see brought into existence over the next few weeks would otherwise have to send the test out to their local state public health lab, which adds days of transport and handling to a test that can be done in a few hours.

The technology is there. Somebody has to pay to obtain and deploy it where it's needed.

Singapore Government To Make Its Contact-Tracing App Freely Available To Developers Worldwide

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
In a move to help the international community combat the coronavirus pandemic, the Singapore government will be making the software for its contact-tracing application TraceTogether, which has already been installed by more than 620,000 people, freely available to developers around the world. From a report: In a post on Monday, Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Vivian Balakrishnan said that the app, developed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and the Ministry of Health, will be open-sourced. This means that the software's source code will be made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. "We believe that making our code available to the world will enhance trust and collaboration in dealing with a global threat that does not respect boundaries, political systems or economies," said Dr Balakrishnan, who is also Foreign Minister. "Together, we can make our world safer for everyone."

Amazon, Owned by World's Richest Man, Soliciting Public Donations To Pay Workers' Sick Leave

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
While much of the economy grinds to a halt, Amazon is doing more business than ever. The company has announced it is hiring 100,000 workers to try to meet surging demand. In 2019, Amazon had over $280 billion in revenue and $11.9 billion in profits. As more Americans shift their shopping online, it will likely do better this year. But, as the pandemic continues, Amazon maintains one of the stingiest paid sick leave policies among major corporations. Judd Legum, writing for Popular Information: As Popular Information reported last week, a significant number of Amazon's workforce -- particularly part-time employees and contract workers -- are not receiving paid sick time. In response to the pandemic, Amazon said it would provide two weeks of sick leave to "all Amazon employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine." Kroger had a similar policy until Saturday when Kroger expanded its policy to cover workers with COVID-19 symptoms or who need to care for sick family members. Amazon, however, has held firm.

Amazon's large contract workforce, which delivers packages and performs other critical tasks, is in even worse shape. Amazon is not providing any sick leave at all for these workers, even if they test positive for COVID-19. Instead, these workers must apply to the "Amazon Relief Fund" and apply for a grant to cover their sick leave. The fund is "focused on supporting our U.S.-based Delivery Associates employed by Delivery Service Providers, our Amazon Flex Delivery Partners, and Associates working for Integrity Staffing, Adecco Staffing, and RES Staffing, and drivers and support team members of line haul partners under financial distress due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or quarantine." Amazon donated $25 million to the fund and is soliciting individual donations to add to the pot. It initially included an option to donate by text.

Re:The Clinton Foundation

By Rhipf • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If the Clintons are so corrupt because of their charity/foundation then Trump must be just as, if not more, corrupt. At least the Clinton Foundation is still up and running. What has the Trump foundation done lately? Oh, that's right it had to be dissolved (I know it was all a left wing conspiracy that killed his foundation and allows the Clinton's to remain in operation).

Re:Damn Capitalists! Also failure of government

By shanen • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Well that is ONE WAY to do it. The other way is to vote for Clinton II or Bernie. They are the good rich people. The rest are the bad rich people.

Damn. You [Can I call you 1100...?] made me look at an AC troll. Why do you play with them? However, your comment doesn't deserve the troll mod, so I'll quote it for additional visibility. (Only quasi-constructive response Slashdot seems to offer for bad moderation.)

However my real comment on this topic is that private charity is not an adequate solution for any major public problems. That's where the government is supposed to step up, but that collides with the insane Libertarian fantasies of Bezos and ilk. Because he does not want to donate any significant amount of his own money and he rejects the idea of government responsibility, he thinks it is actually sane to ask everyone else to donate THEIR money to help HIS victims AKA employees.

I got news for young Jeff. I don't have enough money to help him out. Even worse, there are an infinite number of worthy charities that deserve my money more than Amazon's employees. I actually regard them as a bunch of greedy gamblers who are willing to do anything for money or Bezos or both. (Including evidence from my own anti-interview experience of not getting hired by Amazon).

If I were rich and sincerely believed in charity, then I would soon stop being rich. If I were poor, then I would have to consider asking for help. However I have been poor, and I didn't ask anyone for help, so I think it more likely that if it happened again, I'd probably wind up in the street and quite likely would die in the gutter.

The Covid-19 crisis is a job for the government. Too bad folks like Jeff Bezos have been working so hard for decades to gut the government. Even worse that they've succeeded. Or at least they set the stage for Trump to finish it off.

And now poor wittle Jeff wants MY help. Amazing gall. But the gall is part of how he became so rich, eh?

Disclaimer: I was an Amazon customer. Twice, even. Last time was about 20 years ago. I figured out what Amazon was and decided I wanted NO part of that company. In those days it was just books, and I still read a lot of them, but I am unable to imagine ever willingly buying anything via Amazon. (And how dare I ask "How would my working for Amazon make the world a better place?" (Yeah, I do have a bit of my own gall. (And I accept paying for it.)))

Re:What did you expect?

By cusco • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Amazon's actual employees (of which I'm one) make an average of $101,000/year and get some really good benefits. These aren't Amazon employees being discussed, they're employees of the various contracting companies. If their employers don't value their labor that's not Amazon's fault. Face it, with experience in an Amazon Fulfillment Center they could go work at a distribution center for Walmart or Target or Kroeger, but they don't. Do you know why? Because the FC still pays better, has better working conditions, and gives free training that will get them out of the dead-end warehouse work.

They wouldn't qualify for Amazon's sick leave police because they aren't Amazon employees. Now Amazon is putting money in a fund for them that **their actual employers** didn't bother to create. I'm unclear why this is supposed to be a bad thing.

Re:What did you expect?

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

In the UK they aren't allowed to use contractors to avoid having employees. If they are employees just what a subcontractor or are themselves contacted they get the full rights as if they were working for Amazon.

Re:Corrupt yes, but still a capable administrator

By RoccamOccam • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
You're joking, right?

On April 22, the CDC first activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC). On April 25, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emergency of international concern. On April 26, a public health emergency was declared in the United States, which was renewed twice.

The disease then spread across the country's population and by the end of May had infected citizens in all 50 states. The pattern continued through June of the same year. The total number of confirmed cases varied from 27,717 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed and probable cases) and 25,453 (total of all state confirmed cases) as of June 26, 2009.[122]

Towards the middle of June 2009, the number of US cases surpassed those of Mexico, which had been the previous leader in diagnosed cases of the disease. Toward the end of June 2009, the number of deaths related to the virus in the US surpassed those of all other countries as well.

On June 25, the CDC released information revealing that there were more than likely over one million (1,000,000) cases of the disease in the US, most of which had not been reported or diagnosed.[123][124]

Deaths relating to this new strain of influenza began appearing in the US in late April, and by early June, 15 states had reported fatalities related to or directly occurring from the virus.

On October 24th, the Obama administration declared a national emergency.[120][121]

22 days later the deaths totaled at 4,000 as of November 15, 2009.

On January 15, 2010, the CDC released new estimate figures for swine flu, saying it has sickened about 55 million Americans and killed about 11,160 Americans from April through mid-December.

Britons Saying Final Goodbyes To Dying Relatives By Videolink

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
People are having to use videolinks to say their last goodbyes to dying relatives with Covid-19 because hospitals are curtailing visits to prevent spread of the virus. From a report: In a sad scene that is increasingly being played out out across the country, in the early hours of Tuesday morning a patient with coronavirus was taken off a ventilator at a hospital in south-east London. His wife and two children were unable to be with him but watched at home via videolink, after agreement from staff in the intensive treatment unit.

Re:very common in Italy

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

WHO THE FUCK SAID THAT PEOPLE DYING IN ITALY IS FAKE NEWS? Are you just stupid? Can't read? Seriously, it is if everyone left on here is retarded or something.

Re:Hey shitheads...

By sycodon • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If you seek personal validation on the Internet, you have already failed.

Better than the alternative.

By Gravis Zero • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

While this is sad, the alternative to this would be to prevent any family from seeing them at all. I see this as an improvement on how this would have played out a decade ago.

Re:US bill for this $250+ when inmates pay $12.95+

By dargaud • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." -- Heinlein

Re:It was her choice!

By Nidi62 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

What the actual fuck, why would you want to watch someone die? Those kids are probably scarred for life, they're going to keep people in a secret room in their basement when they grow up.

My thought was actually the opposite: that it would be easier to watch someone die (especially someone you know) over video as opposed to in person. Would psychologically help soften the blow. As for the person dying, that may be a bit harder. I know I would want to have some physical contact, even just hand holding, in my final few moments. Quite literally holding on to a loved one (or really anyone) as long as I could.

CDC Says Coronavirus RNA Found in Princess Cruise Ship Cabins Up To 17 Days After Passengers Left

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Coronavirus RNA survived for up to 17 days aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, lasting far longer on surfaces than previous research has shown, according to new data published this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From a report: The study examined the Japanese and U.S. government efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreaks on the Carnival-owned Diamond Princess ship in Japan and the Grand Princess ship in California. Passengers and crew on both ships were quarantined on board after previous guests, who didn't have any symptoms while aboard each of the ships, tested positive for COVID-19 after landing ashore. The RNA, the genetic material of the virus that causes COVID-19, "was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted," the researchers wrote, adding that the finding doesn't necessarily mean the virus spread by surface. The CDC said researchers couldn't "determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces," and that further study of COVID-19's spread through touching surfaces on cruise ships was warranted.

But were they viable?

By Fly Swatter • Score: 3 • Thread
Does just finding RNA material mean the virus was still viable?

Cruise Ships are petri dishes...

By bobbied • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Cram a bunch of older folks with medical conditions, shoulder to shoulder into a floating low budget hotel, feed them from multiple buffets while you pour on the alcohol next to the seawater pool and yea, folks are going to get sick. Shuffle a portion of portions on and off the boat at various third world countries, Add some new virus and what do you expect? These things are barely better than cattle cars.

I'm NEVER getting on a large cruse... I'd rather sail my own boat thank you.. Yea, it's small, and I have to manage my own logistics, cook my own food, navigate and all that, but I'm not subject to being made sick by the 60-somethings cesspool milling around looking for something to do.

Re:But were they viable?

By queazocotal • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
You need to have the complete uncorrupted (or very minorly corrupted) genome, and an intact particle in enough number to be statistically likely to infect.
The way that'd be needed to test this is to take the samples and apply them to vulnerable cells (certain strains of genetically engineered mice, for example) and see if they were infectious. This is problematic and slow for a number of reasons.

Re:Same as on a dollar note then

By Rick Schumann • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Fuck that shit. Do you really want to live in a world where every single penny you earn and spend is tracked, end-to-end? Where nothing in your life is ever private? Being able to use cash to pay for things in person is one of the few defenses of our privacy we have left. Pry it from my cold, dead hands -- and believe you me, I'm FAR from the only person in this country, and on this planet, that feels this way about it.

..oh, and by the way: the more you 'sanitize' the world we all live in, the worse the human immune system will get at handling pathogens, with each successive generation. I'm not saying 'expose your kid to every virus and bacteria known to man', but I am saying, sterilizing everything around us is, over generations, weakening our immune systems, making them less robust. Add to that how lazy and fat everyone is and you get weak bodies that crumble in the face of the next virus to hit us.

Finally let me put this 'cash' issue in perspective: we've had cash money for thousands of years, and any germs it carries has, I'll bet cash money, has more-or-less remained constant. Right now anyone who is saying "Ban cash! It's a DISEASE VECTOR! AAAAH!" is just panicking like everyone else is panicking and blaming cash money on it.
Should you handle cash all day then rub your face and eyes, and nose? NO! That's always been dumb! Wash your damn hands! But saying "Cash should be outlawed" is ridiculous, and playing right into the hands of surveillance types who want more and more surveillance of normal citizens. Don't fall for it!

This current health crisis will pass, just like all health crises that came before it. There, I said it. And when it passes, we still have to live in this world. Do you want to live in crisis mode for the rest of your life? I don't think so.
Don't let fear make your decisions for you. Don't give in to it.

Important correction!

By bradley13 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Read all the way to the bottom, where you find: "Correction: This story was updated to reflect that SARS-CoV-2 RNA, not live virus, was identified on surfaces in cruise ship cabins up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess."

There is a difference between finding identifiable traces of RNA and finding a live virus. According to an interview I watch yesterday, the virus requires a damp environment (the "droplets" sprayed out when we speak or cough) to survive. After those droplets have dried out on a surface (according to the expert being interviewed) the virus is no longer viable.

The question, of course, is how long that takes. But the RNA fragments 17 days later are almost certainly not infectuous.

HPE Says Firmware Bug Will Brick Some SSDs Starting in October this Year

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) issued a security advisory last week warning customers about a bug in the firmware of some SAS SSDs (Serial-Attached SCSI solid-state drives) that will fail after reaching 40,000 hours of operation -- which is 4 years, 206 days, and 16 hours after the SSD has been put into operation. HPE says that based on when affected SSDs have been manufactured and sold, the earliest failures are expected to occur starting with October this year. The company has released firmware updates last week to address the issue. HPE warns that if companies fail to install the update, they risk losing both the SSD and the data. "After the SSD failure occurs, neither the SSD nor the data can be recovered," the company explained.

Re:This is not a repost...

By esperto • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Thought the same thing, but apparently is another issue affecting a different set of drives, and, as they are saying the first to crap out will be only in October, they probably only found it out because of what happen last year, where people actually lost data. Still amazed how something like this can happen and only shows how "enterprise" label is not much more than a gimmick.

Usage of SAS-SSDs and mitigations...

By williamyf • Score: 3 • Thread

Normally, these SAS-SSDs are NOT used in servers, except for very rare cases. More often than not, these are used in Storage Arrays, either as some sort of cache, or tiered storage, or AFA (All Flash Array). While in a PC/Server it may behove you to make the drive read only after the designated number of hours, in an array, the drives will probably be in some sort of RAID configuration Modern Ones are 0, 1 or 6, legacy or clueless people still use 5, 10 or 01. In these situations, having a read only drive is as bad as having it fail completely.

Having said that, is amazingly stupid to brick the drive upon reaching the designated number of safe hours, istead of just throwing an alarm through the standard S.M.A.R.T. mechanism...

And to top it off, this happens twice?! This points to either sheer incompetence of the HPE people in charge of the firmware, or HPE incorrectly using/modifying an Of-The-Shelf firmware (or a combination of both).

I hope that their arrays have adequate mechanisms for updating the firmware of drives one by one without rebuilds, like many array vendors have.

My class revolted when I taught overflow...

By mosel-saar-ruwer • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
And I don't need to understand pointers, so why should I bother understanding data type range limitations?

I once taught a class in intermediate to advanced "C" [with a brief introduction to C++], and when I spent a session talking about how the graph of addition overflow looked like a line, and how the graph of multiplication overflow looked like an HYPERBOLA, the class revolted, and went to the dean, and I barely made it to the end of the semester.

Needless to say, I never again taught another class at that institution.

Apparently the high school class known as "Algebra II & Trigonometry" wasn't even required for programming.

When I was a kid, you needed to have three or four semesters of CALCULUS before you could take programming, with at least a semester of multivariable calculus (to include VECTORS & MATRICES) under your belt.

This idea that you can turn a [sui generis] English major into a competent computer programmer is sheer rank insanity.

Re:This is not a repost...

By TheGratefulNet • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

no, its more a statement about how bad HP is, these days, in terms of quality and design.

in fact, they don't do work anymore, themselves; they are now mostly a 'labelling' oem, having others do the real work.

when real actual honest HP was still in business, decades ago, they were at the top of their game. now, they are a junk company, not trustable any more than some low end whitebox vendor.

Lifetime timer?

By Locke2005 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Sounds like planned obsolesense to me. I got upset when the smoke/carbon dioxide detectors in the house both started beeping every 30 seconds within a few minutes of each other in the middle of the night. Replaced the batteries; still beeping. Come to find out, they intentionally set a 7 year timer that disables the detector after 7 years, to force you to buy a new one! I wouldn't put it past HP intentionally forcing you to buy new SSDs...

EPA Plans To Waive Some Compliance Requirements Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to waive compliance requirements and deadlines for a range of industries, including oil refiners, water utilities and sewage plants, as it seeks to help businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Trump administration officials. From a report: The biggest change likely will be to waive or postpone coming deadlines to switch to cleaner-burning summer-grade gasoline, according to administration officials and a business lobbyist. Several states have already issued waivers or said they won't enforce them, an analyst said. And many have asked EPA to step in to clarify nationally, according to one administration official. The EPA is preparing to act following an onslaught of requests from businesses and state regulators seeking help, according to the administration officials, who expect the decision to be announced this week. Any action is expected to be scrutinized by environmental groups concerned that the EPA and business groups will take advantage of the situation to skirt environmental regulations. Under President Trump, the EPA has moved to amend environmental policies that the White House views as overly harmful to business.


By bugs2squash • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
It would be interesting to me to see an example of a regulation that prevents a substantial amount of polution, that has been made substantially harder to meet because of the pandemic and that presents an unreasonable burden in this specific timeframe. Without examples my hunch is that this is just abusing a health crisis to push an agenda that has been lobbied for rather than addressing a genuine need.

expect wall funding under the carpet

By kiviQr • Score: 3 • Thread
what is next? Funding of wall with Mexico to stop Covid-19?

Re:expect wall funding under the carpet

By sinij • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Not to defend Trump on this, but considering that Mexico is still not on lock-down, shit about to hit the fan big times over there. In two weeks there will be massive Mexican refugee caravans trying to go North to escape COVID. So a sturdy wall would have been very helpful to keep them out.

It's a conservatives-driven trap

By Rick Schumann • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Sure, sure. 'Ease' compliance in the face of a disaster. Then, when the disaster passes (and it will), they'll quietly, conveniently decide to leave the lack of compliance in place, becoming the de-facto new standard. Just like the anti-abortion groups demanding abortion clinics close 'temporarily'; if they get their way, once this all passes, they'll demand they stay closed.
This is all Old Playbook stuff: leverage a disaster/crisis situation to slide in things from your agenda; who's going to notice? Do it all quietly enough and no one will notice because they're all running around waving their arms in the air and screaming in terror over whatever.

Can anyone clue me in?

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

What does one have to do with the other?

Apple Blocks Third-Party Cookies in Safari

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Starting this week, with the release of Safari 13.1 and through updates to the Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) privacy feature, Apple now blocks all third-party cookies in Safari by default. From a report: The company's move means that online advertisers and analytics firms cannot use browser cookie files anymore to track users as they visit different sites across the internet. But Apple says the move isn't actually a big deal, since they were already blocking most third-party cookies used for tracking anyway. "It might seem like a bigger change than it is," said John Wilander, an Apple software engineer. "But we've added so many restrictions to ITP since its initial release in 2017 that we are now at a place where most third-party cookies are already blocked in Safari."

Now block fingerprinting ASAP

By Distan • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Apple is moving too slow. Third party cookies were state-of-the-art years ago. It is time to block all forms of browser fingerprinting. Even better, Safari should implement a "tor-lite" mechanism where a certain percentage of requests get routed through another user's IP address.

I want Apple to take the forefront here and make it impossible to track users across the web or form any kind of meaningful profile on them.

Let us install extensions without

By kingbilly • Score: 3 • Thread
and apple account.
Last night I took the sole macbook at work home so I could remote in from the couch (wife has my laptop). I went to add ublock origin to Safari and it wouldn't let me without signing in to an Apple account. So I installed Firefox and Google Chrome instead.

Perhaps I'm in the wrong for assuming Safari was a good choice for someone who wasn't going to login with Apple (I have an account, for my phone.).

Apple's App Store Rules Limit Rival Gaming Services While Arcade Runs Free

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Video-game fans suddenly have their pick of a huge menu of titles thanks to a raft of new mobile subscription services from Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet's Google and Nvidia. But for the more than 1 billion users of Apple's iPhone and iPad, the only real option is Arcade, the subscription service launched by the company in September. From a report: That's because Apple imposes strict limits on the kinds of apps users can access on its devices. For example, App Store guidelines ban services that rely on streaming from the cloud. Arcade adheres to the requirements, in part, because it's included as a feature within the App Store itself. This is the latest example of what critics say are arbitrary rules favoring Apple's own apps at the expense of similar software from outside developers. "There's a fraught relationship between developers and Apple precisely because of rules like this," said David Barnard, a longtime independent developer and advocate at RevenueCat. "In some ways, I am incredibly grateful to their marketplace for helping me make millions of dollars I wouldn't have made without it. On the flip side, them being so heavy handed at times does kill apps and does cause developers to miss out on other potential revenue." If software developers want to reach as many consumers as possible, they have to be on Apple's iOS. The operating system powers more than 1 billion smartphones and tablets and it's the only way to access the iOS App Store, which accounted for 65% of app spending globally last year, according to Sensor Tower. The Cupertino, California-based company can also make or break mobile gaming businesses: More than half of the $62 billion spent on smartphone gaming last year happened on Apple products.

Not really a problem.

By gillbates • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Apple is an inequality symbol.

You buy an Apple product not to have a better experience than others, but to show people you have more money than they do. You want a walled garden. You don't want to have to make choices - you just want something that's "good enough", and doesn't require too much critical thinking - IOW, the American Way(tm).

Apple haters really don't get it. Apple isn't trying to make the best product, but the coolest.

what about video streaming?

By mr.dreadful • Score: 3 • Thread
Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. are all streaming services. If Apple tried to block them, there would be serious questions about if they were trying to protect Apple+, so why is gaming different?

Hackers Hijack Routers' DNS To Spread Malicious COVID-19 Apps

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: A new cyber attack is hijacking router's DNS settings so that web browsers display alerts for a fake COVID-19 information app from the World Health Organization that is the Oski information-stealing malware. For the past five days, people have been reporting their web browser would open on its own and display a message prompting them to download a 'COVID-19 Inform App' that was allegedly from the World Health Organization (WHO). After further research, it was determined that these alerts were being caused by an attack that changed the DNS servers configured on their home D-Link or Linksys routers to use DNS servers operated by the attackers. As most computers use the IP address and DNS information provided by their router, the malicious DNS servers were redirecting victims to malicious content under the attacker's control. "If your browser is randomly opening to a page promoting a COVID-19 information app, then you need to login to your router and make sure you configure it to automatically receive its DNS servers from your ISP," the report says. It also recommends you set a strong password for your router and to disable remote administration.

"Finally, if you downloaded and installed the COVID-19 app, you should immediately perform a scan on your computer for malware. Once clean, you should change all of the passwords for sites whose credentials are saved in your browser and you should change the passwords for any site that you visited since being infected."

Fuck people

By AndyKron • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Jesus Fucking Christ.

Venezuela's Flagship Communications Satellite Out of Service and Tumbling

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Venezuela's first and only state-owned communications satellite has been out of service since March 13 when a series of maneuvers left it tumbling in an unusable orbit. SpaceNews reports: The VeneSat-1 satellite, built by China Great Wall Industry Corp. and launched in late 2008 on a 15-year mission to provide television and broadband services to Venezuela, has been stuck for 10 days in an elliptical orbit above the geostationary arc, according to telescopic observations from two U.S. companies that track satellites. VeneSat-1's operator, the Venezuelan space agency ABAE, had issued no status reports on the satellite as of March 23 and could not be reached for comment March 22 or March 23. In January, ABAE said Venezuela and China planned to develop a replacement satellite, VeneSat-2, that would continue service after VeneSat-1 retired.

California-based ExoAnalytic Solutions, which operates a network of satellite- and debris-tracking telescopes, spotted a "significant orbit change" for VeneSat-1 on March 13 at 3:15 a.m. Eastern, when the satellite left its position at 78 degrees West longitude over Venezuela, Bill Therien, ExoAnalytic's vice president of engineering, told SpaceNews. Approximately three hours later, the satellite conducted another maneuver that sent it tumbling westward, he said. Telescope observations from ExoAnalytic and Pennsylvania-based AGI show VeneSat-1 tumbling in an elliptical orbit that at its lowest point is 50 kilometers above the geosynchronous arc where most large communications satellites reside. Venesat-1's highest point, or apogee, is roughly 36,300 kilometers -- or about 525 kilometers above the geosynchronous arc, according to the companies. Bob Hall, AGI technical director for space situational awareness, said VeneSat-1 has drifted 30 degrees from its original orbital slot since March 13. If the satellite drifts another 40 degrees, it will be beyond line of sight from Venezuela, complicating any efforts to restore control of the spacecraft unless Venezuela relies on ground stations in other countries.
VeneSat-1 will likely be maneuvered into a so-called graveyard orbit around 300 to 500 kilometers above the geosynchronous belt, where inactive or dead satellites are expected to orbit for thousands of years without colliding with active satellites.

Socialist Utopia fails again.

By bobbied • Score: 3 • Thread
They cannot keep the electricity on and they wanted to run a satellite? Good luck with that. Couldn't come at a worse time for them with oil prices in the basement.

Probably a Time Conversion Problem

By Greyfox • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I worked at a satellite company for a while, and one of the guys there mentioned one time that he almost lost one of the satellites one time because he logged on to the maneuver system using his own personal account instead of the (probably root knowing that company) account they usually used for maneuvers. His personal account had the TZ variable set to MST, while the usual one was was set to GMT. So the maneuver executed 7 hours out of phase of the correct time, which among other things caused the solar collectors to lose orientation with the sun. Apparently it took them three days to re-orient the satellite correctly.

You now may have several questions, like why a company with several $100 million pieces of hardware in space could potentially lose one or more of them to an error that no one past their freshman year in CS should make. And indeed that would be an excellent question. Turns out the early history of the company reads kind of like a monty python sketch -- the first satellite burned down. The second one burned down, fell over and sank into the swamp. The third one got to orbit but they lost contact with it. They decided they needed to update the version of windows on it (I kid you not,) pointed an antenna where they thought the satellite would be, and then sent the wrong version of windows to the satellite, which would have bricked it if it received the data. They never heard from it again either.

So yeah, space shit is hard even when everyone in your organization is nominally competent. And even multi-billion-dollar companies make trivial programming mistakes like not making sure their times all get converted to a single reference time correctly. The Boeing test a few months back had a problem on re-entry that sounded like the exact same problem. They're easy to spot, if you know what to look for.

Oh yes, and Scott Manley has a pretty nifty Graveyard Orbits Video. Worth checking out, if you like space stories.

Re:Probably a Time Conversion Problem

By cusco • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

There are actually several satellites that run Windows Embedded or Windows Core. It's an inexpensive and stable OS that's easy to program to and which supports an absurd amount of hardware.


By guruevi • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Capitalism is not necessarily a political ideology, it's an economic ideology. I think you're confusing democracy with capitalism, an easy mistake with today's media promoting this idea, but you can have a democracy without capitalism, just not sure what the economic driver would be for that, but I'm sure we can find something.

Communism are the economic ideals necessary for the political ideals of socialism, it has historically been proven to be really hard to have communism with democracy, because those in power will use the communist ideals to make sure they stay in power. You could see that in early Castro Cuba, as soon as it became apparent he wasn't going to maintain power, economic policy was shifted in favor of himself.

Communism is where the state owns the means of production, socialism is where the state (bureaucracy) creates the policy for the people.

Democracy is where the people decide the policy for the people (a republic is where you vote representatives to decide policy), pure capitalism is where the people own the means of production without state interference.

North Korea, Russia, Iran and China today are "democracies" too, they pretend to have a vote, but there is only a single state-approved choice, in some cases (in the Middle Eastern theocracies), you might even have a state-approved opposition party.

SpaceX Encounters First Launch Delay Due To Coronavirus

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
On Tuesday, the Air Force's 45th Space Wing confirmed that the timing for SpaceX's upcoming SAOCOM launch, which was set to take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on March 30 using a Falcon 9 rocket, has been put on "indefinite" hold due to the impact of the current coronavirus crisis. TechCrunch reports: Vandenberg has declared a public health emergency as of this past weekend, and while there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the base thus far, the Air Force is limiting access to essential personnel, and providing only essential services, in addition to taking additional precautions to protect the safety of those who have to remain on site. The delay comes shortly after the company successfully launched 60 more of its Starlink satellites. The report notes that SpaceX still appears to be on track for its current mid-to-late May launch schedule for the first Commercial Crew mission with NASA.